Tuesday, January 8, 2008

"The Waitress:" A helpful discussion

Sunday during the Christian Ed hour we had a very involved discussion on the movie The Waitress. If you haven't seen it before, its a movie about a dissatisfied pregnant woman who has an affair with her married doctor (of all people). Actually there are other affairs going on in the movie as well. To make matters weirder, the main character's husband is an incredibly insecure, controlling scumbag, so as to make the affair look not so bad. I liked the movie so much because I enjoyed it while at the same time I felt precarious and disturbed (wondering if I should really 'pull' for the Waitress). That's what I enjoyed most about the film.

Regardless of likes/dislikes (it was probably 50-50), our discussion was very helpful to me, and I think to most of those who participated. A few things came out of our discussion.

First of all, before we talked about what we didn't like or what was 'bad' about the movie, we had to say something positive. That's what Paul did with the Athenians (Acts 17), and so I think he leaves us a biblical model to follow. Here's what we discovered.

Positives depicted

1.) Affairs are very clearly depicted not so much about love, but escape and adventure, and how they make one feel (contrary to love-concerned for the happiness of another). And they really do hurt people.

2.) Andy Griffith's character (who was worth the price of admission alone) did not approve of her affair, and continued to be the voice of reason and wisdom throughout the movie. Randy even compared him to being sort of a Proverbial character. While old and seemingly crotchedy at times, Proverbs come to us via the Holy Spirit working through a heart of experience, love, and fear of the Lord. Nice work Pastor Randy.

3.) There was never ANY thought of abortion throughout this unwanted pregnancy from ANY woman in the film. The only one who mentioned it was her husband, but he didn't want to go to Hell for suggesting and having her follow through with it. In an abort first, ask questions later media/movie world, we were all pleasantly surprised with this.


There are always negatives as well. Perhaps most unsettling was the depiction of marital infidelity and lack of commitment to wedding vows. Someone mentioned that this was what we should expect from our culture. True, but it is also something that we've seen out of the church as well. Divorce is unfortunately nearly as common in the church today. And that is to be expected since people don't commit to anything these days-why should it be different with marriage?

In addition to discussing characters, positives/negatives, worldviews presented, I was simply blessed to be with a number of different thoughtful minds. Several women helped me see some specific flaws in the main character, as well as some good traits with the hated husband. These women weren't digesting the perhaps pro-feminist theme! Way to go ladies.

Anyhow, I hope others learned as much as I did. I still like this movie a lot. But the discussion made me question some of the things I liked about it and see some other likeable things I ignored. Whether you like this movie or not, it does bring about some intelligent discussion.
Watching a movie by myself can be good, but only through discussion in community can we get the most out of them.

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